By Barbara Crowley, M.S., LPC-Intern
Supervised by Carrie Crutcher LPC-S
October is the American Humane Society’s Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, so maybe you should participate if you have been contemplating the idea of finding a new best friend. Dogs are called ‘man’s best friend’ because they reward us with their loyalty, devotion and affection. In addition, science is discovering that owning a dog improves your physical health and sense of well-being. Research studies have shown that hospital patients who interact, even briefly, with a trained therapy dog show reduced blood pressure, reduced levels of epinephrine and norepinephrine, reduced anxiety, and increased levels of endorphins and oxytocin.
If limited contact with a dog can measurably affect our physiology, it stands to reason that mental and physical benefits may be greater if you actually live with one. Here is a list of bonus points we are awarded by cohabitation with a canine:
- Out of shape? Regular dog-walking improves fitness
- Socially awkward? Dog-walking increases social interaction as many people become friends with fellow dog owners they regularly meet (think dog park)
- Suffer from on-the-job stress? Walking your dog after work is an great way to transition to a stress-less evening
- Dog ownership helps people recover from personal trauma and bereavement, as dogs provide humans with a sense of emotional well-being and offer unconditional love
- The loving company of a dog can help people who suffer from depression by counteracting symptoms of isolation, rumination and lethargy. The responsibilities of owning a dog keeps a person anchored in the present and distracts from negative or anxious thoughts
- Good news for parents! Some studies suggest that pet-owning children have fewer days off school due to sickness
- Finally, along with the serious benefits, dogs are just plain good fun! They make you laugh. To prove it, enjoy this link to Best Dog Pictures of the Year http://www.businessinsider.com/best-dog-pictures-2013-10
By the way, if any cats are reading this-June is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month. So you better step up your game…..
Dallas Area Animal Shelters and Rescue
Positive Outlook Counseling
Barbara Crowley, M.S., LPC-I
16610 North Dallas Parkway, Ste 2100
Dallas TX, 75248
Positive Outlook Counseling services range from individual counseling to family therapy to marriage counseling services. Barbara Crowley specializes in individual therapy for adolescents and adults.
Click Here To Book An Appointment Online